Consumers’ preference for using the internet to research and purchase insurance means that brokers need to make digital tools a key part of their arsenal, a new report says.
Almost half (48%) of consumers named online as their preferred way to compare insurance carriers and plans, the latest research from Fuel Cycle reveals, and today chatbots and price comparison tools make it easier than ever before.
Across motor, property, health and life insurance, respondents said they spent an average of 0-3 hours researching providers and considered 0-4 different providers before finally landing on one.
As a result, both insurer and broker must understand that the consumer’s shopping process today is quick and should make sure they are “at the frontlines” of web searches.
Crucially, intermediaries can no longer look at their online presence as “nice to have,” but as the first touchpoint they will have with their customers, the research urged.
“[Brokers] need to first understand that their knowledge and wisdom regarding insurance is something that will always be valuable to the customer,” Nick Chadwick, senior researcher at Fuel Cycle, told Insurance Business.
“With more consumers wanting to purchase insurance online, it will be important for agents to seek out additional opportunities to dispense their wisdom outside of just the traditional in-person visits or over the phone,” he said.
In the age of the ‘informed buyer,’ intermediaries must start to see their role as more consultative, and understand that, more often than not, they are no longer the first touchpoint in the customer’s insurance journey.
“Agents need to be open to conducting more of their business online. This includes having a social media presence and using online consultations through mobile apps and chatbots,” Chadwick said.
“These new coming generations are marked by how untraditional they are – lower marriage rates, homeowner rates, driving rates, etc – as well as having a deep connection to their smart phones, and it’s important to always remember these facts when working with the ‘new age’ of insurance buyers.”